The Zetal: in order to try to finally wrap up the HG Wells storyline, I needed a garden variety villain. That was the Var-gi-yeh. They would come from outside our solar system, and therefore it would help if we had a warning of some sort.
I reached back into my older work and found the Zetal.
Back in Together, the Witannen and the Imvari capture ten humans for war games. But they are working for a third party, a species in the Andromeda Galaxy, the Zetal.
The Zetal were meant to be more or less incorporeal but I didn’t have much on them. In Together, it was considerably easier to work with the Imvari and the Witannen. Species which are more or less our basic body type are just easier to deal with. The reader or viewer can relate to them better. And, truly, so can the writer.
If a character is hard for even the writer to relate to, then the character is just not going to be written. That’s unfortunate, as they are kind of interesting on paper. But I have very little on them. They are a piece of bringing Trek out of our galaxy and into our galactic neighbor. That’s not enough, though. There isn’t enough ‘there’, there.
If I need to pull in an Andromeda Galaxy species, then the Zetal might be it, and I would do more with them. Right now, though, they remain a semi-useful curiosity and not much more.
When actor Leonard Nimoy passed away, there was a special free write and the idea of ‘saving’ him was an irresistible one. Add in the crew from the Temporal Integrity Commission, and a little bit of silliness got to creep in as well.
In 3115, the Human Unit at the Temporal Integrity Commission decides to save one special Vulcan.
I wanted Spock (a character I have always had something of a love/hate relationship with – I tend to see Dr. McCoy’s point of view more than Spock’s in the old TOS arguments) to have a kind of ethereal quality. Plus I wanted the TIC to occasionally bend their own rules. The action takes place after they have done just that, and saved Milena Chelenska on her deathbed.
As the real calendar turned from 2013 to 2014, I hit upon the idea of having the Temporal Integrity Commission celebrate a bit. This celebration, because it’s the TIC, would have a bit of a twist and adventure to it.
Otra D’Angelo is throwing a new year’s party, and everyone in the TIC is invited, not just the Human Unit. Admiral Carmen Calavicci has her charges together, but Levi Cavendish has not thought ahead part enough to bring her a gift. Carmen is well aware that he has Adult ADHD and is squirrelly and has human relationship problems even on his best days. But she still feels that’s rude. When the gifts go missing during a transport, and then Carmen and Levi do as well, they have to work together in order to get back.
When I began to develop the Times of the HG Wells series, I created a number of characters which could be called upon at various times. One was an animals whisperer, a holdover from when I had created a wholly original time travel series. Enter Greg Shaw.
I like this smart, attractive actor. I just wish I had used the character more. As things currently stand, he is barely shown, and I should rectify that.
Gentle with animals and understanding of them, Greg is essentially just a really good guy. However, when time is altered, he becomes Pope Gregory XXXII in The Point is Probably Moot.
Gregory has no known relationships in either universe.
There are really no impediments to Gregory existing in the Mirror Universe.
Because there would be no need whatsoever for an animals whisperer there, even in the very deep future (after all, that is a universe with multiple extinctions, including giraffes, as is noted in Temper), I can see him as being more sophisticated. It is also unlikely that he would be Pope or a religious man as religion would generally be seen as being a kind of devotion in direct conflict with the required devotion to be given to the Emperor or other leaders (as Empress Hoshi had required, in Bread).
So, what does Gregory do? He might be an artist and, therefore, an elite. Or maybe he would be yet another soldier or security officer. I don’t see him as being a misplaced idealist like Anthony Parker.
Quote (not a direct quote)
Pope Gregory XXXII today announced that meatless Fridays are back in effect. All believers are advised to shop for fish or vegetarian specialties on Thursdays, so as to be prepared.
This descendant of Colonel Jack Shaw and Juliet Parker has had almost no screen time. I should rectify that.
I love how authentic she looks, particularly in the image I have selected, which is from a film called Girlfriends.
She is not meant to be knock out beautiful.
Casual and a bit cynical, Windy is the kind of woman who Rick often ends up with. She is free with her sexuality but also friendly and sympathetic. In 1970, just before the shootings at Kent State University, they talk about the possibility of him being sent to Viet Nam to fight in the war. They go to bed together having known each other for only a few hours. He leaves in the morning when the shooting starts, but their parting is at least somewhat cordial.
When he and Sheilagh Bernstein return in order to repair the issues with the timeline that they themselves have created, he has to leave a lot more abruptly, and ducks out before she wakes up. Angry at him, and at herself for being so free with her body, Windy at least pays lip service to the idea of maybe not having sex quite so quickly, and choosing her partners a bit more carefully.
Of course Windy’s music is the Association’s Windy. The song was popular three years before 1970 and it is the kind of bouncy, optimistic song that a girl of maybe 16 – 18 years of age would like and want to use as her nickname.
When I originally wrote the Times of the HG Wells series, I had an idea that there would be small phasers but had not really fully developed the concept. Because, in canon, phasers have fairly steadily gotten smaller in size, it made some sense to have them, in the very deep future, be rather small pieces of equipment. This also worked as a cover, for Rick Daniels and other time travelers would need to carry a weapon to a lot of time periods where carrying such a weapon would be problematic.
For characters needing to hide a phaser (and maybe even make it look like something else), the idea of turning it into a ring configuration seemed smart. For female time travelers in particular in history, they could even place the ring phaser onto their left ring finger and claim that it was a wedding ring.
The idea is that the ring phaser is about as plain and nondescript as the idea to the right. Furthermore, as time travelers would often have to worry about theft and beatings, the article was not intended to appear ostentatious or particularly expensive.
For a small afterthought type of original technology, I think it turned out pretty well. It would not shock me if a deep future storyline, either in the books or some hypothetical to-be-aired series or film, featured something like them.
I needed a bad guy character for the Times of the HG Wells series who would not be found out immediately. Enter Von, who is named for retired Phillies outfielder Von Hayes (yet another backhanded reference to Jay Hayes).
Von was meant to be someone who Carmen and Kevin in particular would rely on, mistakenly, for far too long as temporal damage continued to happen.
A bit secretive and paranoid, Von has plenty of reason to be so – he is working in cahoots with the Perfectionists, the enemy faction. But he also has a softer side. There is a garden in the center of the Temporal Integrity Commission. Even though he is not required to do so, he is the one who prunes the roses and tends to the day lilies and lilacs and whatnot. He uses an old-fashioned pair of shears that figure somewhat prominently in Spring Thaw.
Further, I needed a way to complete the time travel series. The title was perfect.
As the previous book, Shake Your Body, ends, Rick Daniels has been wiped from existence. The imperfect state of the Master Time File means that he, personally, survives, but no one knows who he is. Almost stateless, he is thoroughly cut off from everyone else. The most painful moment for Rick is when his own mother doesn’t know him, and his sister, Eleanor, screams for Security.
How it all works out, and what happens to Milena Chelenska, and the rest of the gang at the Temporal Integrity Commission, can be learned by reading the book, of course. But I’ll admit I am not thrilled with the ending for Carmen Calavicci and a few others, like Polly Porter. I essentially just ran out of space.
I like the overall feel of it, particularly as it disperses the darkness of the series and brings it back to light. In particular, with the incredible longevity of Branch Borodin, it feels like my characters, in a way, will never die.
I wanted a kind of strange means of controlling time travel.
The means would be the antithesis of canon. Therefore, I decided, the best and clearest way to accomplish this feat would be by making almost a biological means of traveling in time.
For time traveler Helen Walker, it is a three-step process. First, she puts on the cuff. Then a separate controller selects the time and place. Then the enzyme, Trichronium, is swallowed by the subject (in this case, Helen), and the process of traveling in time begins. The physical transference process is somewhat similar to the canon act of beaming from one place to another. Helen even reports that the enzyme tastes a little bit like cantaloupe.
As for the invention and the process, I am somewhat mixed in my assessment of it. I think it is a decent idea but not necessarily with the greatest of executions. For one thing, the name of the enzyme is far too close to the name I had already created for a nerve toxin, Tricoulamine. With rather different purposes for both of these chemical compounds, the all too similar names could potentially prove confusing. In addition, the use of numerical prefixes for nearly all originally-created chemical compounds (e. g. bicoulamine and quatromenaline) made for a far too predictable naming convention.
As noted above, I believe that the idea was a decent one. It was most assuredly a unique one. However, the execution left far too much to be desired. What could have been a great invention turned out to just be okay.